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    It’s finally starting to feel like fall! It’s time to break out the boots, scarves, cider, and pumpkin flavored everything. While autumn brings all those things we wait for during the blazing hot summer, it also brings the eeriness out of every town. Every city has their own set of myths and urban legends, whether they are true or not, and Louisville is no exception to this. I have asked around and many locals have told me their own Louisville urban legends that have been passed around to them from family, friends, and even the media.  Here are five Louisville legends to get you ready for Fall:

    1.      The Goatman on the Trestle

    One of the notorious urban legends from Louisville is the Goatman of Pope Lick and the trestles. When I asked around, this was hands-down the number one legend that people mentioned, maybe because of its notoriety or because it has been featured in many articles and even on the history channel. There have been many tellings of this story. One of Louisville native told me that the Goatman came from a circus train that was struck by lightning on the trestles over the Pope Lick Creek and no one survived the striking except for one of the attractions, the Goatman. Today, people still claim to see a figure of a monster that is half man and half goat on the trestles. Were you really a teenager in Jefferson County if you didn’t go to the trestles and test out this legend? One local told me that “my friends and I went to the trestles when we were younger. We got out of our car to walk closer and we left all the doors open and lights on. Once we heard footsteps above, we got freaked out and ran back to the car to find all of the doors closed and the lights off in the car.”

    2.      A Spirit at the Palace Theater

    The Palace Theatre went up in the 1920’s during a time of glitz and glamor down 4th street. Since then, it has gone through a variety of owners and renovations.  One local said “the legend is that one of the builders or designers of the building had died of a heart attack in the building during one of the times of renovations. Since then, the spirit of that man has haunted the building and been spotted by people working in The Palace. Some people have been said to have physically seen this figure in the balcony and others have only heard him whistling or humming.” Another local says that today they still have heard that there are random, eerie malfunctions, such as doors opening at random or projector and lights going off. Next time you’re at The Palace Theater look around and see if you can find this mysterious figure roaming the halls.

    3.      Pretty Everything at Waverly Hills

    Can we even talk about urban legends without bringing up Waverly Hills? Notoriously known as being one of the most haunted places in the United States, Waverly Hills has been haunting visitors for years. According to their website, Waverly Hills was built in the 1900’s as a hospital to treat patients with tuberculosis and it was closed down years later due to patient abuse. Many of the legends in Waverly Hills are centered around patients and nurses who still haunt the grounds. One local said the tunnel or chute was used to throw dead bodies down and she claims that you can feel the energy and eeriness when you see it on the tours. Another local said that when she walked down one of the hallways, something or someone had pulled her pony tail. Finally, another local said that on one of the floors you can hear children running around and you can see their shadows. Waverly Hills has made its mark in Louisville and people are constantly willing to test out the numerous legends in the building. Want to see for yourself? Check out their website for tours and tickets.

    4.      The Hearse on Sleepy Hollow Road

    Driving down a dark, windy road doesn’t sound scary at all, right? It’s especially not scary if it is covered by the canopies of trees and forces a driver to rely on lights and the guard rail to keep them from going off road and into a ravine. That’s not the only thing you need to worry about though. It is rumored that a black hearse had been seen to appear out of nowhere and try to run drivers off the road. Since being passed down so long to people, is it possible people drive a black hearse down the road as a joke? Absolutely. Am I willing to go out and test this urban legend? Absolutely not. You won’t see my little car speeding away from this mysterious hearse!

    5.      The Witch’s Castle in Utica

    While there are many more Louisville legends, we cannot help but include one Indiana urban legend in this article, especially since it isn’t too far from here! Located in Utica, the Witch’s Castle has been a notorious Indiana legend. Every Indiana local that I spoke to named this place immediately after being asked for an urban legend. A young woman was murdered in this location. Since then, many locals say you can hear voices and see people and no matter what, the fireplace and shack remain.  One local said “I drove toward the building itself and on the road, the temperature dropped and we got a bad feeling. You felt off and knew that there was something bad there. I could never make it into the building after all the stories of demons haunting the shack, demonic symbols on the walls, and voices screaming out to you. I could only make it down the road where it was within my vision before I had to turn around.”

    Do you believe in these legends? Whether or not you do, there might be some truth behind every story since they have been around for so long. These stories came from people who, like many of you, live in Louisville and have been told these stories since they were little kids. Then they grew up to be rebellious teenagers who wanted to test out these stories. You don’t have to believe in these legends, but I personally will not be out there testing if these are true or not. 

    Cover photo and photo 3 provided by Waverly Hills.  Further Credits: photo 1, photo 2, photo 4, photo 5.

    Taylor Ichinose's picture

    About Taylor Ichinose

    I am an incoming senior (finally!) at the University of Louisville. I will be graduating with three degrees: English, Spanish, and Humanities. I intend to continue my education and get my masters in English next year. I have had the pleasure of working at both Louisville Magazine and Louisville.com over the last year.

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